|Welcome to the world’s smallest car|
|Friday, 15 June 2012 12:00|
CARS come in all shapes and sizes. While I have seen the relatively big to medium cars I have always wanted to see the world’s smallest car. Being the vehicle enthusiast that I am I have attended numerous events and my biggest disappointment was that at every event I never got the opportunity to see one.
However, recently I joined some online club which shares information on various auto-related news.
I got to discover one or two things and collect a few facts before putting together this week’s article in which I am profiling the smallest car in the world — the P50.
The Peel P50 is a three-wheeled vehicle designed for urban commuters. It has held the title of being the world’s smallest car since it made its debut in 1962.
At 54 inches long, the P50 that is technically a moped can fit in an elevator and makes a Smart look like a monster truck at 106,1 inches long.
For those who have no idea why I mention the Smart Fortwo, a Smart Fortwo is a very small vehicle which has space deprived.
The Smart Fortwo is a rear-engine two-seater city car manufactured by Smart GmbH, introduced at the 1998 Paris Motor Show as the Smart City Coupé, and currently in its second generation.
The name refers to its seat capacity, just two people. On transmission and shifting performance, the Smart features an automated manual transmission without a clutch pedal, six-speed for the first generation, five-speed for the second.
Having described the Smart I will now look at the Peel P50 in detail. Upon first seeing one, many people would be forgiven for doubting its reliability on the road.
Naturally so because with only 70 horsepower, one wonders how it can compete with other cars on the road.
One person can barely fit inside a P50 and, at 130 pounds, the car might weigh less than the driver.
Despite being designed during the Kennedy administration, the P50 does have some modern features.
For example, it is mid-engined, just like a Ferrari 458. By “mid-engined”, this means that the engine is in the cabin, alongside the driver.
The original engine was a 49cc moped unit, which churned out 4.2 horsepower.
The new P50 (and its two-seater Trident sibling) uses a slightly less powerful, 3.35hp engine.
Luckily, the old car’s reverse-less three-speed transmission has been replaced with a modern CVT.
Peel is also offering an electric version with the same power. The engine and transmission should be enough to get the P50 up to 28mph. The top speed is electronically limited.
Safety is an important thing to consider, since a dozen of P50s can fit in a truck’s blind spots, and there is nothing to absorb the impact.
A car that can only go 50kmph does not seem very useful, but the Peel has some major advantages over normal-sized cars.
It gets an estimated 118mpg, without any batteries, electric motors, or regenerative braking.
It makes the Peel EV’s 35-mile range seem kind of silly. No wonder Peel’s slogan has always been “almost cheaper than walking”.
The P50 does makes a credible replacement for your own two feet, as Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson demonstrated when he drove one through offices and elevators at the BBC’s headquarters.
Now, lazy office workers everywhere can rejoice, because the Peel is back. Today a new P50 will cost about US$16 000, which is US$2 500 more than the gargantuan Smart.
Other cars offer more amenities for that price, but you can’t park them in your living room.
That will probably be enough reason for some people to buy it, especially if they already have another car.
It will also make Smart drivers feel good, since their cars are like monster trucks compared to the P50.
British engineering company, Peel, is bringing back the smallest automobile that has ever hit the roads.
Although small, these cars feature a roomy, one-person interior that opens through a swinging top.
Peel is now reproducing the electric and petrol versions of the car. The petrol model of the car offers a 49cc engine with a top speed of 70kmph and a fuel economy of 26km per litre while the electric alternative can attain the same top speed with a range of 30 km per battery pack.
The P50 and Trident are both made of fiberglass, which results in the car weighing in at under 400kg.
Peel is only producing a limited number of these special edition fully road-legal petrol and electric cars.
Till next week, please license your vehicles and be safe.
Fact D. Jeke is a motoring enthusiast who has attended auto shows, rallies and has written for various publications in the region for the last decade. She can be contacted via email on email@example.com